PREMISE, CONCLUSION, AND ASSUMPTION

Premise – Premise is the evidence, fact or belief on which the conclusion is based.

Conclusion – Conclusion is the main point what argument is trying to make. A conclusion is generally marked by the transition words such as therefor, hence, thus etc. However, sometimes such words are absent. Always try to understand the argument first; this will help you differentiate the argument into premise and conclusion.

Assumption – Assumption is an unstated statement on which the argument is based. An assumption is not stated explicitly in the argument. However if the assumption is wrong, the whole argument fails.

 

ARGUMENT

Mary is a gold winner in swimming. Hence, she could easily beat James in swimming.

We will try to inspect the different part of above argument. In above argument ‘Mary is a gold winner in athletics’ is a premise based on which argument concludes ‘Mary could easily beat James in swimming’.

Premise – Mary is a gold winner in swimming

Conclusion – Mary could easily beat James in swimming.

Now, let’s try to find the Assumption in the argument. Remember, the assumption is not stated, but if the assumption is wrong the argument will fail. The argument concludes that Mary could easily beat James in swimming. This is based on the fact that Mary is a gold winner in swimming. However, if James is also a gold winner in swimming, then the argument fails. Hence assumption is ‘James is not a gold winner in swimming’.

Assumption – James is not a gold winner in swimming.

 

Let’s try to break below argument into different pieces –

Argument

Editorial: The roof of Northtown Council’s equipment-storage building collapsed under the weight of last week’s heavy snowfall. The building was constructed recently and met local building-safety codes in every particular, except that the nails used for attaching roof supports to the building’s columns were of a smaller size than the codes specify for this purpose. Clearly, this collapse exemplifies how even a single, apparently insignificant, departure from safety standards can have severe consequences.

 

Divide the argument into premises and conclusion

Premises

1) The roof of Northtown Council’s equipment-storage building collapsed under the weight of last week’s heavy snowfall.

2) The building was constructed recently and met local building-safety codes in every particular, except that the nails used for attaching roof supports to the building’s columns were of a smaller size than the codes specify for this purpose.

Conclusion

This collapse exemplifies how even a single, apparently insignificant, departure from safety standards can have severe consequences.

 

Now try to think what could be the assumptions. Clearly, the author assumes that the collapse was caused because of the small size of nails.

Assumption – Collapse was caused by the small size of the nails used for attaching roof supports to the building’s columns.

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